What to do in Cognac?
In the south west of France, Cognac is mainly known for its famous eau-de-vie. But the city is full of historical monuments and beautiful sites. Here’s a selection of best places to visit.
Visit a distillery
If you come to Charente, you have to visit one of the many Cognac houses to understand the cognac production.
Let’s discover a visit at Maison Painturaud Frères, a Cognac and Pineau makers since 1934. The estate is in Segonzac, in the heart of the Grande Champagne cru. This cru is known to produce very fine eau-de-vie. (Know more about Cognac crus).
The property visit starts in the distillery with a family presentation, its history and the vineyard. Then you get to discover the cognac production process: harvest, vinification, distillation, ageing, bottling.
The visit ends with a tasting around the old family still to taste your favourite pineau or cognac. To keep a souvenir of your visit, you can buy Painturaud’s cognac and pineau in our shop but also many Charente specialties.
Cognac Royal Castle
The Cognac Royal Castle is a monument from the 10th century. The famous French King Francois 1st was born there. The castle belonged at first to the Villebois family. Then, it was passed from family to another until the end of the 17th century. It was later bought by the cognac brand Baron Otard, part of the Bacardi group.
The castle visit makes you discover the glorious past of this royal monument. It’s opened every day of the year except on 25th December, 1st January and 1st May. The visit is 12€.
Cognac Public Garden
This 7 hectares park is in the heart of Cognac old town where locals and tourists love to wander. The English style garden is due to the landscaper Edouard Andre who has redesigned the park in 1892. The park is right next to the city hall. This place is perfect to enjoy nature, see animals or have fun in the playground.
Art and History Museum
The Art and History Museum was created in 1925 in the old Hotel Dupuy d’Angeac. Right next to Cognac Public Garden, this beautiful building is a place you have to see. You can find drawings collections, archaeology, paintings or sculptures. On the first floor, there are Cognac prehistorical vestiges.
Many temporary exhibitions and activities for children are organized all along the year. Visits cost between 5 and 10 €.
Ride your bike around Cognac
You can enjoy the many cycle paths around the city and its surroundings. There is for example “la boucle 24” starts at the André Mermet leisure park and goes to Saint Sulpice de Cognac and Mesnac. During your ride, you’ll be able to see different Cognac sightseeing. This ride is open to all ages with different levels and routes: difficult ones between 41 and 71 km, easier ones between 23 and 35 km and very easy between 5 and 10 km perfect for families.
You can also enjoy the FlowVelo, a path that follows the Charente River for 290km, from Thiviers in Dordogne to l’ile d’Aix in Charente Maritime and goes through the city of Cognac.
Bike is an ideal way to discover Cognac by yourself.
An original way to discover Cognac: by canoe
The Charente River flows along the city of Cognac. You can rent a canoe or a stand-up paddle to discover the city and the natural surroundings. According to your schedule, you can either go for the day or the half day.
Taste the culinary specialties in a local restaurant
Cognac has a very rich gastronomy. Besides cognac and Pineau you can enjoy local specialties like melons, snails (called cagouilles) or Gensac trout in local restaurants like Poulpette, Arty Show…
There are many things to do in Cognac: visit Maison Painturaud Frères, discover the city by bike or enjoy local gastronomy.